The Only 2 Ways to Grow Your Email List

Dustin Lien
April 21, 2021

If your email list is not growing every month, or even non-existent, there are only two possible problems you can have:

  1. A website traffic problem (a.k.a. Nobody is going to your website)
  2. A conversion problem (a.k.a. People are going to your website, but you aren’t effectively capturing email addresses)

You might have one or both of these problems, and if you do, congratulations, you’re normal :)

To some extent, every business can improve in both of these areas, and they both provide opportunities to grow your email list and ultimately your business.

Let’s break down these two opportunities, and look at practical ways to leverage them and speed up the growth of your email list.

Understanding Marketing Funnels

In its simplest form, a marketing funnel is a path that customers are directed through, from awareness of your product through completion of a marketing goal (capturing an email, making a sale, etc.).

Here’s what we’ll use as our marketing funnel for the purpose of this blog post:

Traffic Sources

A traffic source is anything that helps get exposure for your business and sends people to your desired destination; in our case here, to your website.

Examples of traffic sources:

  • Google search
  • Social media
  • Podcasts
  • Ads
  • Word of mouth

People get exposed to your products or brand from somewhere, and are directed to your website.

Your Website / Online Store

Once a potential customer lands on your website, the objective is to convert them into a customer and/or get them to opt-in to your email list. Statistically, only about 1% of people are considering actually making a purchase the first time they go to a website, so it’s a good idea to try to get people on your email list so you have opportunities to get your products in front of them again in the future.

Once someone is on your website, you’ll want to have multiple ways to capture their email address, also known as “opting in”.

Email Opt-in Forms

The basic concept of capturing someone’s email on your website is that you’ll give them something in exchange for it. You might offer a coupon, access to your newsletter, a helpful guide, or something else that they’ll find valuable.

Examples of email opt-ins:

Free Shipping Pop-up

10% off Coupon Pop-up

Newsletter Opt-in Landing Page

Footer Opt-in Shot 2021-04-21 at 3.41.59 PM.png

Checkout Opt-in Shot 2021-04-21 at 3.42.54 PM.png

Giveaway Landing Page Shot 2021-04-21 at 4.05.04 PM.png

Helpful Guide Shot 2021-04-21 at 4.06.39 PM.png

How to Grow Your Email List

There are obviously a lot of creative variables when it comes to how to attract people to your website and get them to actually give you their email address, however, there are only 2 levers that can be pulled in this process: increasing your website traffic, and increasing your conversions (the amount of people who give you their emails).

Increase your website traffic

The average website converts 1.5-3% of visitors into email subscribers. If you have 100 people coming to your website every month, you can conservatively expect to be getting about 2 new email subscribers each month.

That’s just not enough if you’re trying to grow your business.

Most email lists on average make about $1 per subscriber per month, so if you want to increase your revenue by $1,000/mo, you need to get 1,000 new email subscribers. At the pace of 2 new subscribers per month, that would take you 500 months, or over 41 years…Or, you can increase your website traffic! Yay!

If instead of getting 100 people to your website each month, you started getting 5,000, with an opt-in conversion rate of 2-3%, you could hit 1,000 new subscribers in just 7-10 months.

Examples of how to get more website traffic:

  • Get featured on relevant podcasts
  • Partner with influencers and affiliates
  • Viral Partner Giveaways
  • Optimize your website to rank for relevant Google searches (SEO)
  • Paid ads

Improve your Opt-in Conversion Rate

What if instead of your email opt-ins converting 2-3% of your website visitors, they started converting 6-9% (totally doable)?

With the same amount of traffic (5,000/mo), instead of it taking 7-10 months to get 1,000 email subscribers, it would only take 2-3 months!

Here are some thoughts on how to increase your opt-in conversion rate:

  1. Are you offering something your visitors actually want to trade their email for? A common mistake is having your pop-up or embedded email form simply saying, “Join our newsletter list for updates and promotions.” Frankly, it’s not a strong enough incentive for the average person. If you change it to offering them a 10% off coupon or a specific PDF guide that’s helpful, you’ll see conversions go up.
  2. Are your traffic sources bringing in the right people? If you’re selling women’s apparel, it might not do you much good to be running ads to men, for example.
  3. Do you have opt-in forms in a variety of places on your website? If you’re getting 5,000 people to your website, but you only have a pop-up on your homepage where only 2.000 people see it, you’re missing out on a lot of potential subscribers.
  4. A/B test your opt-in landing pages. Most email marketing softwares like Klaviyo will show you analytics, and allow you to run A/B tests on your opt-in landing pages to test what colors, copy, and images convert best.

Next Steps

Now that you know the 2 things you can play with to grow your email list more each month, the best way to make it happen is just to pick a strategy, and start taking action!